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Grandparenting Principles Issue 1 2 3 4 5

Preparing Children for Real-Life Situations

One of the most important character traits grandparents can teach their grandchildren is responsibility. Responsibility is a complex virtue, though, and it takes a lot of time, patience and practice to acquire it. Responsibility is crucial because life is full of choices, and these choices have consequences, both good and bad.

Grandparents can address 12 major concepts when teaching their grandchildren to become responsible individuals:

  1. Be accountable. Responsible people accept moral responsibility for their attitudes, words and actions. This requires individuals to reflect on their choices — to think beyond immediate gratification by considering how choices today will affect life in the future.
  2. Exercise self-control. Self-control is the ability to manage powerful emotions and appetites. How we respond to these feelings determines whether we are responsible or reckless.
  3. Plan and set goals. People who live their lives more purposefully instead of just “going with the flow” are more likely to eventually get what they want.
  4. Choose positive attitudes. Responsible people accept control over their own emotions, and thus, their happiness. They choose positive attitudes, such as cheerfulness, enthusiasm and generosity.
  5. Do your duty. Responsible people follow through on their commitments. They keep their promises, even when it is not convenient or easy.
  6. Become self-reliant. Responsible people manage their lives so they are not a burden to others. Children should be taught to not to ask for assistance with tasks they can perform by themselves.
  7. Pursue excellence. Responsible people strive for excellence, giving 100 percent of themselves to the task at hand. Responsible people also do the best they can with the resources they have.
  8. Become proactive. Becoming proactive means taking the initiative to achieve self-improvement and community improvement. Proactive people don’t just react to life; they seek to effect change in areas they can control.
  9. Be persistent. Responsible people finish what they start. They know that most things worth achieving require hard work and that success does not always come from a first attempt.
  10. Become reflective. Becoming reflective requires thinking ahead and reflecting on the consequences of our choices — even during emotional times. Children often consider only the here and now or the immediate future; long-range planning is not their strong suit.
  11. Set a good example. Responsible people understand that their behavior often influences the behavior of others, so they conduct themselves morally and ethically.
  12. Become morally autonomous. Responsible people think for themselves and do not let other people’s opinions and attitudes control them. They are free moral agents, with strong reasoning skills and the freedom to choose between right and wrong.

Teaching Activity

Practicing SODAS

When faced with a potentially dangerous or morally confusing situation, it can be helpful for children and teens to use the SODAS technique. Here are the steps for using this important social skill:

  • S – Assess the Situation
  • O – List your Options for resolving the situation
  • D – What Disadvantages could result from each option?
  • A – What Advantages could result from each option?
  • S – After weighing all the information, what is the best Solution to try?

Working with your grandchild, come up with one or more potentially dangerous or morally confusing situations, and use the SODAS technique to talk through what the best possible outcome is. Download this helpful SODAS tool.

Parenting Strategy

Corrective Teaching

Corrective teaching is a tool grandparents can use to correct negative behaviors and help their grandchildren learn alternative positive behaviors. If your grandchild is using a negative behavior, your first job as a grandparent is to stop it. Then you can use corrective teaching to explain to your grandchild why the behavior is inappropriate and offer positive alternatives. Here are the steps to corrective teaching:

  1. Stop and describe the problem behavior.
  2. Give a negative consequence.
  3. Describe the desired behavior.
  4. Give a reason.
  5. Practice.

Coming up in Issue 4

Setting Boundaries and Expectations


Discuss Expectations and ​Boundaries for Using an Electronic Device


Teaching Self-Control

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